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Hotel Industry News In Brief
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Travelport triples its hotel content
Travelport, the business services provider to the global travel industry, has revealed that the number of hotel properties available in its Travelport Rooms and More hotel booking engine has more than tripled since launching the tool last summer. With new content recently added from leading hotel aggregators Hotelzon and Tourico Holidays, over 700.000 supplier offers are now available on more than 340,000 unique hotel properties. Travelport Rooms and More, which was launched just over a year ago, formed part of Travelport’s heightened investment and focus in the fast growing hospitality sector. The booking engine combines meta search functionality from Sprice.com - which was acquired by Travelport in May 2010 - with Travelport’s core B2B expertise, to deliver a completely integrated hotel booking platform. It is now available in over 70 countries and six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish). Niklas Andreen, GVP Hospitality and Partner Marketing, Travelport, said: “The case for developing Travelport Rooms and More was a strong one as it complements our GDS hotel offering and benefits everyone in the supply chain. Importantly, it negates the need for leisure travel agents to search for hotel offers on multiple websites, instead allowing them to access and book commissionable accommodation offers through one quick and easy process. With agents in over 70 countries now using it, we are also offering leisure hotel suppliers an additional platform through which to market their content.”
Tipping Point for Mobile Bookings at Hotels.com
Ignore mobile commerce at your peril. That is the clear message after another major online retailer, Hotels.com, reported that around one in 10 of its bookings is being made through a mobile phone or tablet.. This follows the recent Wotif.com annual report which said 9% of the company's bookings are mobile generated. Hotels.com regional VP Johan Svanstrom said Hotels.com mobile bookings are running "slightly higher" than Wotif.com. He added: "We see very strong penetration in Asia, and the US is driving strong growth," he said. Mr Svanstrom said the development of new apps has been crucial in the growth of mobile bookings and also offers a great opportunity to create consumer loyalty, which has always been a problem for online retailers. He said the growth in mobile is also driving other trends, such as a contraction in booking lead times, which Hotels.com is catering for with the development of last minute product.
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Key Appointments in the Industry
Congratulations to these new appointments…
Metropole’s New Executive Chef Invokes Family Legacy in Move to Hanoi. Two generations after his family anchored their working life in colonial Vietnam, a French chef has followed up on his fascination with this legacy to command the kitchens at the country’s most storied hotel, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi. As the hotel’s new executive chef, Olivier Piganiol will oversee operations at the French restaurant, Le Beaulieu; Vietnamese restaurant, Spices Garden; Italian restaurant, Angelina; and in the hotel’s three bars, Le Club, La Terasse and at the all new Bamboo Bar. After five years at the landmark Dharmawangsa in Jakarta, the Metropole became an inevitable move for Piganiol, partly because of his family’s connection and partly from an affinity for the charm and charisma of a classic property. The Metropole’s stature as an historic property will determine the philosophy behind his moves in the kitchen, said the chef. “The architecture of the building decides what you do in the kitchen because, in many ways, the architecture of the building decides what kind of guest checks in,” said Piganiol. “The splendor of the hotel must be evident in the splendor of the dish.”
Palm Resort Bhd recently announced the appointment of Le Grander Palm Resort general manager George Loong as the chief executive officer of Palm Resort Golf and Country Club. George Loong has over 50 years of experience in the hotel industry. A press release on Sept 1 stated that Loong would still remain as the resort's general manager as well as being CEO of the nearby country club. He joined the Le Grandeur Palm Resort in February last year to oversee the running of the resort. His portfolio was later expanded to include the management of Palm Resort Golf and Country Club. He was tasked to look after the membership base, sales and marketing, financial aspects and the operations of the country club, golfing and food and beverage sections. He spent eight-and-a-half years with the Hotel Grand Continental in Kuala Terengganu before coming to Johor. Loong has over 50 years of experience in the hotel industry and has worked with well-known groups such as Merlin, Micasa and the Grand Continental hotels and is also an avid golfer. "I welcome the challenge as I deem this as job enrichment, where I am able to adapt golf, which is a sport I love, to managing a business related to it," said Loong.
The Latest in Hotel Openings
Four Seasons announced the scheduled opening for the first time of the luxury hotel brand in China’s capital. Opening in fall 2012, Four Seasons Hotel Beijing will be the third Four Seasons hotel to open in China this year, following the summer openings of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou and Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai. The brand’s portfolio in the country already includes Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, Four Seasons Hotel Macao Cotai Strip and Four Seasons Hotel Hangzhou at West Lake, with a dozen additional projects in advanced stages of development. Located in the Liangmahe area of the Central Business District and close to the Third Diplomatic Precinct in northeastern Chaoyang, the Four Seasons Hotel Beijing is a combination of traditional themes harmonized with contemporary designs.
Accor Opens the 331-room Pullman Anshan Time Square in Liaoning Province, China and becomes the Biggest Market for the Pullman Network. Pullman, Accor’s upscale hotel brand for today’s cosmopolitan traveller, announces the opening of Pullman Anshan Time Square, in downtown Anshan, the city dubbed China’s “Capital of Iron and Steel”. This new opening, in the north-eastern Liaoning Province, illustrates Pullman’s vigorous expansion in China, which ranks it as the largest country market in the Pullman network. It has 14 hotels in that country, and will open a further 26 there by 2015. “We’re delighted to introduce the Pullman brand –now 14 hotels strong in Greater China –to Anshan,” says Paul Richardson, Chief Operating Officer of Accor Greater China."The opening of Pullman Anshan Time Square, the second Accor hotel in the city, is further strengthening Accor’s overall expansion strategy and opening up opportunities in first to third tier cities around the country. “This new Pullman destination, which joins the network’s 66 others hotels and resorts around the globe, is perfectly intune with our brand: vibrant, cosmopolitan and in-style. We are delighted to treat our customers and the Anshan local community to this new upscale address that shows that business and pleasure are no longer contradictory terms,” explains Xavier Louyot – Pullman Global Marketing SVP.
Benchmark Hospitality International Adds Bonaventure Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, to Management Portfolio. Benchmark Hospitality International, a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, announces the addition of Bonaventure Resort & Spa, located in Fort Lauderdale, to its growing management portfolio. This represents Benchmark Hospitality’s sixth property in Florida. Burt Cabañas, chairman and CEO, made the announcement. “It is indeed a pleasure to welcome the Bonaventure Resort & Spa to Benchmark Hospitality,” said Mr. Cabañas. “The resort’s rich heritage in South Florida and exceptional legacy in the meetings industry will serve the property well as we reintroduce this hospitality gem to the marketplace.” Bonaventure Resort & Spa, previously known as the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure, was recently purchased by Hospitality Investing Group LLC, which plans a multimillion dollar renovation of the resort. "This repositioning reflects our strategy to bring an upscale, independent resort and conference center option to South Florida," said Ari Pearl, partner with Hospitality Investing Group. "Improvements to the existing conference center will include extensive renovations of public spaces, enhanced meeting technology and an increased use of ergonomic furnishings to IACC* standards. Forty-eight hundred square feet of space will also be added." Pearl continued with, "Additional resort improvements include renovations to the Lobby and a re-concept and expansion of the property's main restaurant."
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